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When it comes time to consider hearing aids, people are often uncertain about whether they should get one aid or two. We often get asked ‘Do I need hearing aids in both ears?’. While every case is unique, and you should certainly be guided by your audiologist, there are a number of reasons why two is generally better than one.

It’s always better to hear from both ears where possible. If someone has normal hearing in one ear, we hope to bring sound to the other side in an attempt to balance out the person’s hearing. But if someone has aidable hearing loss in both ears, it’s almost always better to have a hearing aid in both ears. Here are some of the reasons:

  1. Better speech and conversation understanding. Because the brain is receiving signal from both sides, both sides of the auditory pathway is being stimulated and all areas of the brain that are responsible for hearing are being activated. This means that speech will be processed better and understood more easily.
  2. Better localization of sounds. This refers to how we tell where sounds are coming from. When the hearing is uneven, like when only one ear is fitted with a hearing aid, one loses the ability to tell the location of the sound source.
  3. Improved sense of distance from sound. As above, we need two ears to tell where sounds are coming from, and this includes how far away the sound is. Both of these are really important, not only for speech understanding, but also for personal safety.
  4. Better sound quality. When our ears are working together, the brain is receiving the best possible signal with all the important information. This helps the sound to be more natural and clean. Hearing aids these days are designed to work as a set, with many of their best features working because of an integration of signal from both sides. When you only have one, you limit the benefit that you will receive from the hearing aids.
  5. Sounds are more balanced. This goes without saying- when you have hearing aids in both ears, the sound coming in will be similar from both sides, allowing you to feel more even than if you only had one.

Humans have two ears for a reason- our brains are supposed to receive signal from both sides. When someone has hearing loss in both ears it is almost always best practice to fit hearing aids in both ears. As mentioned, this can vary from case to case, and a decision like this should always be made in consultation with a qualified audiologist.

Feel free to comment below with your experiences, or contact us for more information.